A ‘social audit’ on Porur lake carried out recently by Arappor Iyakkam, found how a strip of land branching off Mount Poonamalle High Road is providing motorists access to the waterbody. Due to this, vehicles are driven close to the lake and cleaned. “This is nothing but a service road that was created when the Maduravoyal flyover was constructed over the lake. For reasons that remain unknown, the service road was not put to use. Besides dividing the lake into two, this strip of land provides those seeking to clean their vehicles access to the lake,” says S.A. Haris Sulthan, a volunteer of Arappor Iyakkam.
The recommendations of the audit include fencing the lake and strengthening its bunds.
“This needs to be done to prevent further encroachment of Porur lake, which originally sprawled over 400 acres. The waterbody has now shrunk to 240 acres,” says Haris.
With just six months left for the onset of monsoon, the audit also recommends de-silting of the lake.
Twenty-seven volunteers, including residents of localties in and around Porur, took part in the audit.
Since August 2016, Arappor Iyakkam has conducted audits of Villivakkam lake, Pallikarnai marshland, Pallavaram and Chromepet lakes under an initiative called “Audit of Chennai Waterways.” “Many voluntary groups now clean up waterbodies. While appreciating their efforts, Arappor Iyakkam points out that such initiatives are not sustainable and can’t offer a lasting solution. Removal of encroachments, de-silting and regular maintenance of waterbodies are mammoth tasks and only government agencies will be able to do them. We have to ensure that they do their duty,” says Parthiban Ragunathan, another volunteer of Arappor Iyakkam.Arappor Iyakkam will form neighbourhood chapters for conservation of waterbodies shortly. It invites residents of localities around these waterbodies to participate in this exercise.
The volunteers also suggested that the lakes should be developed as neighbourhood places of leisure with walkways and seating arrangements around them.
Those interested to volunteer may call S.A. Haris Sulthan at 80155 83194 / Parthiban Raghunathan at 80561 34862.